Monday, June 29, 2009

Birth Of A Notion

this is one of my favorite scenes from a great Bob McKimson cartoon.










Back when I worked at the ultra-conservative and bland Filmation studio, we used to play the audio of this clip over the intercom in the middle of the day to remind all the old guys of when cartoons were funny.

I love the idea that a little guy can be menacing, just through the sheer power of his psychosis.

http://www.cartoonthrills.org/blog/McKimson/47/BirthNotion/TerribleThings.mov

"Birth Of A Notion" was made near the beginning of what I think of as McKimson's Golden Age - 1947-1949. He made a lot of great cartoons, especially in that period.

23 comments:

J C Roberts said...

"Give me your wishbone!" was a commonly used phrase when we were kids.

That's indeed a golden period!

Kali Fontecchio said...

That line kills me!!

Matt Durand said...

The Peter Lorre midget in this cartoon scared the shit out of me as a kid. I totally believed that he would do terrible, horrible things to animals behind closed doors.

Hey John, speaking of McKimson, any chance you'll do a blog post on "Easter Yeggs" someday? That one's so completely bitter and misanthropic I almost expect Ren to show up in the middle of it. Everyone in it is either pissed off, an asshole, or a pissed-off asshole. And it's great.

Gavin Freitas said...

I know I haven't posted in a while John but I LOVE this cartoon. I would say those lines over and over again as a kid. You should also show the part where Peter Lorre sticks his head out of the bingo type board and says, "Give me your wish bone" while Daffy smack him around a bit. Also on your list is another great "Daffy Duck Slept Here". I love the scene were Daffy keeps mispronounces words that Porky is telling him in bed. I've rambled enough....

Elana Pritchard said...

What kind of paint did the bg artists use to make the drawing look so smooth and polished? Some kind of oil?

J C Roberts said...

Oil wasn't typically used for animation backgrounds. It takes too long to dry and the cells could get stuck to it.

Jack G. said...

Elana - I would imagine it's gouache. But don't quote me on it.

I see you have a computer again.

HemlockMan said...

That one, I remember!

Yeah that little tiny Peter Lorre dude was scary as shit. I recall that he truly creeped me out as a kid. Even more than the real Peter Lorre.

This was back when Daffy was daffy and not a schmuck.

Niki said...

I always loved watching him say that when I was little. and the fact that you can here the bat land makes me think the dog is watching it as he naps so it reminds him of the horrible possibilities.

Chip Butty said...

"Hey, remember me? I'm Leopold, I'm supposed to be the star of this picture. Phooey!"

Yowp said...

Was McKimson snatched by aliens in the '50s and replaced with a zombie? How else can you possibly explain his lacklustre cartoons after a great start to his directing career?

Even though I'm not crazy about some of his early character design choices as a director, his pace and non sequiturs result in some very funny and imaginative cartoons in the '40s. The McKimson of the '50s is like a different guy altogether. By the '60s, it's like he was collecting a pay cheque.

I agree with Matt. Easter Yeggs is a great little cartoon. The early Foggys with limbs going every which way are fun, too.

Yowp

JohnK said...

>>Was McKimson snatched by aliens in the '50s and replaced with a zombie?<<

yeah, him along with the whole cartoon business, I think.

Rick Roberts said...

Chip Butty:

Yeah that was a hilarous line, Warren Foster wrote the funniest dialogue in cartoons. Now THAT is how you do self reference.

Emily said...

Peter Lorre and I have two things in common: we're both Hungarian and Jewish. Well, he "was." What a wonderful actor.

Those drawings are fantastic, thanks for posting 'em! Such a great caricature.

Pilsner Panther said...

One of the funniest and most bizarre WB cartoons. When I saw it on TV as a kid, it was missing the original credits, so I always thought it was one of Clampett's. It does have a certain resemblance, being kind of dark and slapstick-spooky.

Did Peter Lorre do the voice himself, or was that Mel Blanc? Lorre was (surprisingly) a fine comedian, as he demonstrated on the Spike Jones radio show... where he had to endure Paul Frees imitating him!

way of osmosis said...

I'm fairly sure cartoons aren't allowed to be that entertaining anymore.

Jorge Garrido said...

Robert McKimson: the most underrated DIRECTOR in all of animation history.

Elana Pritchard said...

Oil takes a long time to dry, but gouache is so lumpy! Maybe they had a specific way of diluting it. I wonder what the bgs were painted onto. Not cells I'm sure, but what?

p.s. No, I'm on a borrowed computer right now- stupid recession!

Mr. Semaj said...

Very funny cartoon.

"Don't you know, that makes me very angry, and I'll do terrible, HORRIBLE things to you!"

Christine Gerardi said...

Haha! I just watched this one on DVD! It's awesome!

aalong64 said...

I saw this cartoon for the first time a few months ago, and I couldn't believe a) I'd never heard much about it and b) that McKimson directed it. If I hadn't seen the title card, I would've sworn it was a lost Clampett cartoon. There's some really funny animation, and the dialogue and story are so crazy. After seeing this I started to appreciate some of McKimson's earlier cartoons a bit more.

And in response to Pilsner Panther's question about the Peter Lorre's voice, I think Stan Freberg mentions in his commentary that he did the voice in this one.

smbhax said...

Animated Peter Lorre! This is great, thanks for posting it. :)

Andrew Mortlock said...

hahahaha, hilariously frightening.
a superb combination.